Nomination Form Page ???? 33 NATIONAL CUTTING HORSE ASSOCIATION CHATTA DECEMBER 2010 21 Information Sheet Management & Nutrition of Epiphysitis, Tendon Contracture, & excessive growth in foals Epiphysitis is inflammation of the growth plate – particularly in the knees, fetlocks, and hocks – that result from rapid skeletal growth and high protein/carbohydrate diets.
Tendon contracture is excessive tightening of the flexor tendons (as the back of the leg) that can occur when the long bones of the leg grow faster than the tendons as the foal rapidly gains body weight and muscle tone.
Tendon contracture can result in pain, lameness, and the distortion of the hoof capsule and formation of a Club foot.
Contracture can occur from birth and all throughout the growing phase of a horse.
Epiphysitis can exacerbate both angular limb deformities and also contractural problems.
Epiphysitis can be both visible and invisible – even when the growth plates are visibly decreased or settled and the foal’s body condition has dropped or stabilized, physiologically the growth plate is still active.
It takes a minimum of 3 months or twelve weeks for the growth plate to properly stabilize.
Aims of management programme • Gradual increase in body weight and size – specifically lean body mass • Avoid excessive growth and subsequent pressure upon flexor contracture and growth places. • Prevent the formation of bony-essentially non-reversible, conformational changes. • Prevent the formation of club foot/feet. • Avoid pain and stress in foal/weanling.
Frequently presenting as trembling of the legs, knuckling of the fetlock and knees, and failure of the heel to touch the ground. • The maintenance of high anti-oxidant levels to minimize muscle and inflammatory-free radical damage given the inflammation and mechanical forces present.
HUSBANDRY RECOMMENDATIONS • Regular recording of body weight in combination with body condition assessment. • Strongly recommend the usage of body tapes and objective body size measurement/recording (eg.
Digital photography – with a reference measure) in combination with body weight. • Strongly recommend regular assessment by multiple people at differing intervals to gain more objective comparison (including farriers at the trimming g interval, senior stud management etc). • Control the amount of exercise and area available to the foal/ weanling.
Exercise leads to increased muscle tone – increases tendon contraction. – Stabling and small yards can be used – monitoring for signs of pain and discomfort – immediately confirm within a stable or equivalent sized yard. – Regular monitoring is essential – Providing a quiet stable/paddock buddy can decrease the amount of exercise/movement that the foal performs.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION/SUGGESTIONS • Please note that Equine Podiatry & Lameness Centre has no loyalty to any feed company. • Remember the END PRODUCT – a healthy horse with good legs, feet and joints Foals should not be in premium, show condition during their growing phases. • Remember, a foal/weanling with epiphysitis/contracted tendons is NOT a normal horse. • Body growth is not a predictable or completely controllable entity.
The following recommendations and protocols are based and dependent upon regular assessment of the foal and resultant adjustment of the feed program. • Assessment of feeds and rations requires balancing credible science and commercial salesmanship – don’t believe everything the Produce stores tell you. • General recommendations – Do not forget the available pasture – the foal/weanling will not require any supplementary feed if on good quality pasture, and may in fact need to be removed from the pasture. – Restricting the foal in a yard or stable will enable complete control of the foal’s nutrition. – Provide coarse hay – either a coarse pasture/cattle grade hay.
This is essential for maintaining gut health/function and minimizing acid flux. – Coarse hay also takes longer to eat therefore it will keep the foal/weanling occupied. – At Muswellbrook Veterinary Hospital we utilize a coarse, cattle Rhodes grass hay. • Provisions of electrolytes is highly recommended to encourage drinking and maintain regular metabolism and muscle function. – A good quality compressed salt-electrolyte block is a simple, cost effective method with the added benefits of decreasing boredom and being self-controlled. – In-feed supplementary electrolytes may be considered. – Please note many electrolytes/supplements are complimentary – assess all ingredients of all supplements prior to feeding. • If you are concerned in regards to stress and gastric ulceration, you may consider the use of maintenance omeprazole (omogard, gastrozol, gastropell) or ranitidine (ulcerguard) throughout the program. • Do not forget the mare’s milk – The mare can be restricted to minimize milk production – Consider EARLY WEANING Do not make it TOO EASY for the foal/weanling – Do not rug during colder months – the foal will burn off excess energy keeping warm.
Supplementation of anti-oxidants – primary Vitamin E, Selenium, and Vitamin C – is recommended with increased pasture utilization and decreased hard feeding. (When the flexor contracture decreases to a level that enables increased turn out). – Examples include Preserve (KER), Performa 3 oil (Mitavite), Untie (Naturevet).
Article courtesy of Equine Podiatry & Lameness Centre, Muswellbrook Veterinary Hospital and Wayne Baumann JAN/FEB CHATTA AD DEADLINE 10th JAN 22 DECEMBER 2010 NATIONAL CUTTING HORSE ASSOCIATION CHATTA COLLECTION Enjoy Summer in the new Roper 2010 Summer Collection.
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